Gwent BOOST is new multi-service project covering Newport, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent. At an event at Newport Market in November, the Lottery-funded initiative celebrated the value of lived expertise for the benefit of women with complex life situations, people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) and people without access to skills and employment opportunities.
Gwent BOOST is a partnership which aims to ‘Build On Our Strengths Together’. The five-year project is part of the National Lottery Community Fund Helping End Homelessness Grant and comprises of the following Welsh organisations:
At a launch event upstairs at the stunning Newport Market, 85 attendees from 23 organisations came together on Thursday 16 November. But already, Gwent BOOST has been quick off the mark to start delivering.
The social enterprise run by people with lived experience: BOOST is developing the idea of a co-produced social enterprise, creating a viable job stream for people with lived experience of homelessness or hardship. 12 people have already been involved in the co-design of Gwent BOOST-related activities with The Wallich.
Targeted Peer Advisor Programme: The project has an aim to end homelessness in Gwent for women who have been through complex life situations over a five-year period. Offering training and paid placement for those who are allowed to work. BOOST has developed a network of public and private sector employers who are able and willing to provide placements to those coming through the programme.
3 women have completed the ‘Learning to Advise’ course with St Giles, taking them to their third cohort of people boosting their skills. One participant said, “I have more confidence and ambition to go forward with my future” after doing the course.
The Champions Network for Landlords and tenants: The Champions model provides a platform for developing good practice within the sector and achieving more positive outcomes for all stakeholders. Volunteer Tenant and Landlord Champions from the public and private sectors work together to develop joint initiatives.
Tai Pawb have already delivered four drop-in sessions with more than 50 people engaged and put on three landlord events with a combined total of 225 attendees.
Gwent-wide clinical psychology support: Building clinical psychological support for homelessness support staff, backed up by good practice from Caerphilly HSG teams, will ensure a resilient and long-term workforce who are dealing with increasing pressures and demand. 20 people have already been offered psychological support by Aneurin Bevan Health Board. In Newport and Caerphilly, 43 staff and service users have attended drop-in sessions.
Volunteering programme for people with NRPF: the Welsh Refugee Council has signed up 8 organisations to take asylum seekers and refugees on as volunteers. They’ve facilitated volunteer placements which utilise people’s existing skills such as interpreting, translation, childcare and teaching, much needed to fill the area’s skills-gaps.
Sam Taylor, Gwent BOOST Manager, from lead partner on the project The Wallich, said, “Gwent BOOST isn’t here to take over from organisations doing brilliant work. It’s about linking everyone up for collective effort, sharing ideas and creating opportunities for people to use our services to guide what they need.
“We’re already seeing incredible engagement with people moving into a more positive future. As we work with more individuals to boost their skills and wellbeing, we decrease the likelihood of people in Gwent falling into homelessness or feeling uncertain about their future.”
BOOST is a five-year project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund as part of a £10 million Helping End Homelessness grant. The grant was launched with the aim of preventing and tackling homelessness, making it rare, brief, and non-recurrent.
More information about the Gwent BOOST project: https://thewallich.com/services/gwent-boost/